Educating Huddersfield: teaching worth sharing

On 3rd December 2014, the Huddersfield Students’ Union (SU) organised an event to develop new ways of enhancing dialogue between students and staff and to promote a partnership approach to improve the educational experience. The event was opened by Michael McGougan (SU Vice President Education) and Professor Tim Thornton (Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning). There was a great line up of speakers and this post represents just a few of the highlights.

Student and staff working together

Ellie Russell, projects officer at The Student Engagement Partnership, spoke eloquently on the importance of students being part of creating excellent teaching and learning and institutions developing student engagement processes where the student voice is embedded and where students take an active part in their own learning.

Engaging large groups of students

Mark Mynett, a lecturer in music technology and winner of a Thank You Award for Inspirational Teaching, spoke about getting learners’ attention and keeping it. Mark outlined a number of approaches to achieving this:

  • Speak enthusiastically about your subject
  • Use stories (and real world examples) in order to engage students
  • Encourage questions and discussion throughout the lecture
  • Place listening at the foundation of your practice
  • Ask students to problem solve
  • Ask questions rather than provide answers/information
  • Be open to constructive criticism.

There was also a very moving speech from Musharaf Asghar who took part in Educating Yorkshire.

“Poetry is the voice at the back of the head”

The poet Lemn Sissay (MBE) closed the event with an engaging talk on the primacy of imagination arguing that something has to be imagined before it can happen thus making the act of imagination as real as the physical thing.

He reminded us all how important it is to be wrong, to keep learning, keep developing and move beyond the binary of right/wrong.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen and Jane Gaffikin (@tali_hud)

Posted in Learning design, Partnership, professional development, Research, student engagement, Teaching | 1 Comment

Student engagement: links and resources


I have been collating a few useful links and resources for a colleague asking me about student engagement, I thought I would also share them here. For the benefit of any reader, I should point out that there is no simple or agreed upon definition of ‘student engagement’ and that, for example, the concept has different roots in the UK to the US, which has an impact on how ‘student engagement’ is understood and what practices are included within the term.


Higher Education Academy ‘students as partners’ work

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) Student engagement

Examples and other resources

Posted by @kshjensen

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Researching, Advancing and inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Conference 2014

I went to the Researching, Advancing and inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Conference in Manchester on 11-12 September. The theme was Student Engagement: Opportunities for all. The hashtag for the conference was #raise14  and I have used Storify to collate some of the tweets in my story of RAISE conference 2014

The organisers used the online tool padlet for delegates to share ideas and thoughts whilst they mingled, a very effective tool for this kind of collaboration. You can see the raise padlets with all the ideas/comments on:

Jean Mutton from the University of Derby made a really great point about the problems of jargon and all of us need to be aware that most students will not know what terms like ‘student engagement’ mean. This issue becomes even more important when thinking about how we evaluate student engagement schemes and activities.

Students mapping their HE experiences

I found the session by Dr Camille Kandiko Howson (King’s College London) very useful in terms of keeping a focus on the student perspective. Dr Kandiko Howson talked about ‘Students as stakeholders? Community, engagement and belonging’ and shared findings from the research commissioned by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) into student expectations and perceptions of higher education. When students were asked to draw maps of their student experience, the complexity of students’ lives really stood out.


Using Lego for reflection and sharing of experiences

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to get my hands on some Lego and learned about how it can be used for ‘playful’ evaluation. It was great that the presentation gave us the perspectives of a student, a member of staff (Haleh Moravej) and an academic developer (Chrissi Nerantzi). It is a powerful and fun tool.

The resilient learner Photo by @kshjensen CC BY

The resilient learner
Photo by @kshjensen

Students and staff as social media collaborators

It was great to learn about the student and staff at Salford University who are running a twitter account and hearing about how this experience had given both confidence in engaging with digital tools, being professional online and had contributed to breaking down hierarchies between staff and students. The twitter account is @nursingSUni and they also run a Salford University Nursing blog.

More about RAISE:

RAISE is a network of academics, practitioners, advisors and student representatives drawn from the Higher Education Sector who are working and/or interested in researching and promoting student engagement. The network creates opportunities to come together for beneficial scholarly discussion and creating collaborative projects, sharing good practice and lobbying for investment and better policies locally, sectorally and across our international community. Join the RAISE network

Posted by @kshjensen

Posted in Conference, Learning experience, Partnership, pedagogy, professional development, Research, student engagement | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Technology Enhanced eLearning Education (TEEE) Festival

This post is by Karolis Pantelejevas and Natalia Rosca who are two new Project Assistants on work placement with the Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI) team.

This week we attended the Technology Enhanced eLearning Education (TEEE) Festival held from 8th-12th September 2014.The general idea of the festival was to explore different learning technology tools and methods to enhance your teaching, in University of Huddersfield in particular.  The festival was divided into number of sessions every day during the week and gave colleagues the opportunity to find out and try different learning and technology tools and methods.

Here are our highlights from some of conference sessions we attended:

“Technology is not the answer until we understand the question.”

The keynote was delivered by Simon Thomson who is a national Teaching fellow and head of e-learning at Leeds Metropolitan University. One of the interesting points he made was that Universities in particular should let staff and students experiment with technology and not assume that people will understand how to use it straight away. In addition, he argued that Universities should buy technologies based on usability not necessary functionality. What is the use of a fancy named program if it takes people ages to understand how to use it?

Simon has developed the 4E framework which focuses on the benefits of using technology in learning & teaching. The 4 E’s are: Enable, Enhance, Enrich & Empower and these can be attributed to inquiring the use of eLearning in the following ways:

  • What can technology “enable” us to do?
  • How can technology “enhance” what we already do?
  • How can technology “enrich” our learning experiences?
  • How can technology “empower” learners & teachers?
Photo by Natalia Rosca

Photo by Natalia Rosca

In order to make us easier understand this framework Simon had introduced an activity. He asked us to produce a chatter box which was a helpful visual tool. We found it very interesting and useful, so that we would like to explore the functionality of 4E framework further in the future.

“Exploring Technology and Social Media.”

This session was led by Dr Sue Folley, who is Academic Development Advisor of Learning Technologies at the University of Huddersfield. Sue discussed some of the Social Media technologies that could be used in teaching as well.

In this session, we split into three big groups. We were given some cards with names of different social media tools written on them. We had to discuss them and create:

  • A pile of names that at least one person from the group could fully explain what it is about
  • A pile of names that we heard of but do not know much about
  • A pile with the names we never heard of

After this activity we went around and chose two technologies we knew about and explained them to everyone else and two we never heard about and others explained them to us.

It was interesting to realise how much social media platforms could be beneficial in teaching and learning and get familiar with programs we never heard about. The discussions were interesting and fun and everyone seemed excited to learn new things. Some of the interesting and new programs to us in particular were:

  • WordPress – an easy tool for creating your own blog
  • Yammer – a micro blogging site similar to FaceBook but addressing professional companies and environments, a way for colleagues to post and share whatever they want.
  • Pecha Kucha – a visual presentation style in which 20 images are shown with 20 seconds per image. Good for art, design, architecture students.
  • Camtasia – a professional screen recording and video editing program in which you can record your voice. Good for video feedbacks for students.
  • TED Talks – a massive conference for majority of different topics and now all of the past conference speeches and discussions are available online for free (
  • Tagxedo – a website in which you can make various word clouds with different styles and sizes.
  • – a mind mapping tool.
  • SlideRocket – an online presentation tool where you can create, develop, share and manage your presentations.

“iPad and other tablets Coffee Club”

The session was led by Olaojo Aiyegbayo, who is a Research Assistant at TALI. This session gave people the opportunity to share their experience of using the iPads or other tablets, and asking questions about any particular issues they have come across using technology.

Besides this Ola encourage colleagues to use some helpful applications:

  • BrowZineit delivers thousands of academic journals to your iPad
  • Ipadioit is an easy way to record phone calls
  • it is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, creative, and business skills to achieve personal and professional goals

This session was very productive as we learned a lot of new things we didn’t know before, and we’ll try to use them in future activities. We have also discussed some issues we came across using different applications on our devices. The conference received great feedback, and Ola is looking towards organising other iPad Coffee Club sessions in the future.

Posted in Learning technology, professional development, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment

Using a business simulation game to embed enterprise education

At the University of Huddersfield, we are exploring the benefits of using a business simulation game to embed enterprise education in teaching and learning. SimVenture is now available and ready to use across campus as part of a strategic teaching and learning project proposed by Dr. Kelly Smith, Head of Enterprise, and supported by the Teaching and Learning Institute.

It is available to all staff and students – just take a look in your Quicklinks folder on the Desktop.

Increasingly, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills are being seen as having wider relevance than simply business start-up with a separation of enterprise education and entrepreneurship education, and recommendations that both are contextualised and adapted to the needs of individual subjects through embedding in the subject-specific experience, rather than offered as generic ‘one size fits all’ modules (e.g. QAA 2012[1], Wilson 2012[2]).

SimVenture is a business simulation game launched in 2006 and used in over 150 HEIs all over the world. It is also used in schools, FE, and in communities including in several African countries with strong Government support.

As part of this project we are keen to research how SimVenture has been used at other Universities and aim to develop case studies based on the findings to provide inspiration or examples of practice for lecturers to use or adapt for their own needs. From an initial literature review we have identified a number of academics who has used or is using SimVenture with students and we are in the process of conducting interviews.

The project team also designed a survey on the use of computer based business simulation which is currently live. If you can contribute to the survey please click the link:

The outcomes and case studies will be made available to the sector. More details can be found at:




Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen)

Posted in enterprise, Research | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Call for Papers: Exploring staff and student partnerships

The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change is a peer-reviewed cross-disciplinary research journal that welcomes contributions relating to staff and students as change agents. The journal is part of the UK Change Agents Network and aims to support research into partnerships between staff and students that identify, lead and deliver change in education across all disciplines. Follow them on twitter @CANagogy

Deadline 20th October 2014

Contributions from all members of UK Higher and Further Education institutions are welcome, including: (1) academic staff, (2) students, (3) professional and support staff (4) NUS Sabbatical Officers and members (5) professional bodies/employers and (6) recent alumni. We accept a range of submissions from traditional research articles, case studies and project reports to shorter opinion pieces, book reviews and technology reviews.

Co-authored submissions from staff and students are especially welcomes. All published student authored submissions will be entered into a competition whereby one will be awarded a prize for excellence of up to £500.

  • Opinion Pieces – short and thought provoking, stating an opinion and drawing on evidence to support it (a maximum of 750 words with around 3 references).
  • Case Studies / Project reports- based on staff and students working in partnership to identify and deliver change, typically describing: the organisational and historical context, specifications of the project, discussion of pedagogy/practice, implementation, evaluation and lessons learnt (a maximum of 3000 words with around 6 references).
  • Research Articles – longer papers, providing a clear rationale for the study within the body of published research, an overview of the research methodology adopted, a presentation of findings, and a discussion of those findings in relation to existing knowledge (a maximum of 6000 words with around 10 references).
  • Book Reviews – a critical overview of a book related to educational innovation and change involving staff and students (a maximum of 750 words).
  • Technology Reviews – a critique or review of a technology, outlining its application for learning and teaching and its strengths and weaknesses (a maximum of 1000 words, with around 3 references).

(Text copied from the journal homepage)

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen)

Posted in student engagement | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Call for papers: Digital Technologies special edition of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education

Digital technologies are pervasive in every aspect of Higher Education, and though their use is undoubtedly common in learning development activities, this field is under reported as an area of expertise.

Call for papers, July 2014: Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education (JLDHE) Special Edition 2014, Digital Technologies in Learning Development

Deadline for submission: 15th September 2014

Publication: November 2014

The November 2014 issue of the JLDHE will focus on ways in which digital technologies are used in the work of learning developers, academic teaching staff or other practitioners seeking to improve student learning. This focus has been chosen because of the large number of technology-related submissions we receive.

This call is for academic papers, case studies and opinion pieces. These might relate to projects, development activities, research or innovative practice that consider the interaction between learning development practices and digital technologies.

To submit your paper or to see the current edition of the JLDHE click here

Guidelines for authors are also available at the journal website.

(Text copied from ALDinHE journal site)

Posted by Kathrine Jensen


Posted in Learning technology, professional development, Research, writing | Leave a comment